Winegrowers are looking forward to a promising vintage in Central Otago as the grape harvest ends after a challenging growing season.
"Whilst there was a warm start to last year's growing season that got us off to a flying start, that gain was corrected by an unusually windy and cool January,'' Central Otago Winegrowers Association general manager Glenys Coughlan said.
"Autumn has delivered near perfect conditions and, although the grape yields will be lower than average, the feedback we have had from around the region is that there is some exceptional-tasting fruit.''
Central Otago was lucky to miss poor weather from Cyclones Debbie and Cook, which had an impact on other wine regions around New Zealand, she said.
"We are fortunate that while the overall season had its moments, the weather gods were kind to us through the critical ripening period.''
James Dicey, of GrapeVision, said the botrytis levels were as low as he had seen.
"After a summer that delivered colder than normal temperatures, higher winds and higher rainfall, we were blessed with a very dry lead-up to vintage, which has resulted in incredibly low botrytis levels and very clean fruit when harvested,'' he said.
"We had a superb run through harvest with only one frost of note. We are about one week to 10 days later than normal in the Cromwell basin, but because of the differences in ripening times, wineries have been able to stagger the picking until perfect fruit ripeness.
"Some wineries are still picking sauvignon blanc. Riesling and pinot gris yields have been heavier than expected and pinot noir is a little bit down on expectations but tasting intensely flavoured.
"Initial looks at the wine under ferment is very very positive,'' he said.
VinPro chief winemaker Pete Bartle said he was surprised at the quality of the grapes after a cold summer.
Central Otago would "produce some great wine'' this year, he said.